Milwaukee Preservation Alliance
Press Release

Public Invited to Help Find Ways to Continue Restoration of Milwaukee’s Soldiers Home

MPA launches effort to save the Chapel, Ward Memorial Theater and Governor’s Mansion with public survey and advocacy campaign

By - Feb 9th, 2021 12:00 pm

MILWAUKEE — This Spring, Old Main will reopen to veterans as part of a successful reuse and rehabilitation effort that is restoring the most prominent building on the Soldiers Home campus to its original use. Milwaukee Preservation Alliance (MPA) is launching an effort to explore opportunities to save three more buildings on the campus: the Ward Memorial Theater, Soldiers Home Chapel and Governor’s Mansion.

“We are thrilled to embark on this effort to study ways to save these three remarkable buildings that are a vital part of our community’s history and can be a vital part of our future,” said Jeremy Ebersole, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance (MPA).

MPA has engaged a team of Historic Preservation Consultants, led by Miller Dunwiddie, to explore new uses and funding for the vacant and endangered buildings. The project team also includes Allume Architects, Alexander Company, JP Cullen, and Nissley Environmental Consultants. A final report is expected this spring and will be used to show the viability of reuse and encourage the issuing of a new Department of Veteran Affairs Request for Proposals (RFP) to developers to lease and sensitively redevelop these buildings to meet the needs of the veteran community.

A key part of the study involves securing public input on desired uses. The process kicked off with a targeted listening session with the Wisconsin Veteran Chamber of Commerce and continues with a public survey, available this week only, to help guide the vision for the reuse and restoration of these important historic buildings. Anyone who is interested in helping create the vision for the future of these buildings is encouraged to participate online at survey will close on Friday, February 12. 

“Public input and involvement was a crucial part of the successful effort to restore Old Main to the service of veterans and will be equally important as we work to find ways to save these three historic buildings,” said Dawn McCarthy, President Emeritus of the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance.

The public is also encouraged to become involved by contributing to funding the planning study. Currently, MPA is raising funds to support this initial study phase, estimated at $15,000. The fundraising is supported by a $5,000 matching grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Donations can be made at

About Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, Inc.: 

Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, Inc. is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting stewardship and awareness of the historic, cultural, and economic value of Milwaukee’s built heritage. MPA aims to strengthen Milwaukee’s neighborhoods by advocating for and promoting their unique cultural spaces and architectural assets in order to foster a strong and vibrant community as well as demonstrating the link between historic preservation and viable economic development.

About the Miller Dunwiddie Team: 

The Miller Dunwiddie Team is comprised of historic preservation architects, a financial advisor, and cost estimator who specialize in the continued and sustained use of historic properties, such as Ward Hall Theatre, the Chapel, and the Governor’s Residence buildings at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center (Zablocki). The team includes several key individuals who have worked previously and currently on this campus including Melissa Christenson Ekman and Denita Lemmon from Miller Dunwiddie; Nick Migan from Allume Architects; Jonathan Beck with Alexander Company; and Jasun Berka with JP Cullen.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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